After prey, predators never need to go back to modern times
Prey's gripping suspenseful tale set in the 18th century shows that the Predator franchise can thrive by being set in the past.
Prey has shown that the Predator franchise can succeed without going back to modern times. Prey debuts on Hulu as the fifth installment in the Predator series (excluding the Alien vs. Predator films) and is set in 1719. A warrior named Naru (Amber Midthunder) steps forward and takes down the Predator.
While the Predator franchise had its highs and lows, Prey is widely regarded as a major return to the Predator franchise, and has even been compared to the original Predator. Prey's end credits also teases more predators landing on Earth for their next hunt in Prey 2, getting the naaru and Comanches ready for another battle with their alien rivals. With more 18th-century stories seemingly emerging in the future of the Predator series, Prey itself shows how much potential the Preyator series has to tap into the historical period.
Prey Gave The Predator Franchise A Fresh Start
Prey is both a prequel and a soft reboot of the Preyator films, which pull off similar tricks as 2010's Predators. People don't need to see any other predators The film goes into Predators or Prey in a completely fresh way, but Prey also goes in a different direction. The Predators expanded on the franchise's mythology and lore about the Predators themselves, while Prey traded more for the simplicity of the original Predator. As it turns out, a basic human vs Yautja fight like Naru's showdown with her Predator foes is just what the Predator franchise needs to get it back on track.
Through fairly minimal dialogue, Prey also presents Naru not as a character who must learn to fight the Predator on his own terms, but as the first protagonist of the Predator series, capable of doing so from the start. Naru and her fellow Comanches also offer a whole new set of perspectives on Yautja for the Predator franchise, of which the different cultural lore surrounding the Predators is a staple. In doing so, Prey also made a statement about how to deliver something new in a franchise that's as persistent as Predator.
The Predator Franchise Is Not Tied To Any Particular Time Period
The Predator series has long established that the Yautja have been hunting humans on Earth for centuries. While historical relics like the Predator 2's flintlock pistol (in Prey) provides tangible evidence of this, and the Predator movies are surprisingly frugal in tapping into that potential. Prey is the first Predator movie to take place entirely before the 20th century, and doing so is more of a turning point than it might seem.
Predator's strong response can be attributed to a number of factors in the film, and its gimmick, set in 18th-century America, is certainly part of the formula for its success. Not only that, but it shows how easy it is to make a Predator movie stand alone, no matter the location or time period. For the Predator series, these elements are like the weapons used by the Predators in Prey, each with its own specific purpose and can be deployed at the appropriate time.
Predator Cannot Tell Many New Stories In Modern Day
Prey's success is also fitting, as the Predator franchise shows how little it can do in modern times. The Predator series has been lacking in fresh ideas since Yautja was first introduced in Predator and Predator 2. Its biggest change is arguably the Aliens vs. Predator crossover, but These have taken root in the franchise's expanded comic universe. 2018's Predator didn't offer much new material, either, save for Yautja's take on Predator culture's hunt for humanity, while failing to establish much fertile franchise ground for it.
The Predator is the series' large world builder, with a planet that the Yautja use as a game preserve, and warring factions in the Predator culture. Preyators 2 is almost a step up from Prey, and Predators' influence on the larger franchise suggests it's the most viable option for a Preyator movie in the modern context. If the Predator franchise doesn't choose to go down the Predators path, Prey will show it a much richer path.
The Advantages Of Predator Taking Place In Different Eras
The Predator movies start with a "soldier in the jungle" conceit, which could easily be applied to almost any time period. The Predator itself shows Hanzo (Masake Luis Ozawa) discovering a katana sword on the sanctuary planet of Yautja, which sets up a Predator vs. Samurai showdown in the past. Other warrior classes such as Ancient Egyptians, Spartans, and Medieval Knights, each with their own strengths easily against a variety of different Marauder variants ( The fan movie Predator: The Dark Age shows exactly this even in the case of the knight).
Since other historical warriors such as ninjas, Vikings, Shaolin monks, or Roman soldiers are themselves great human candidates for the Predator series, their cultural and social norms from different time periods may add to their stories. Naru's arc in Prey is about proving herself to be a Comanche hunter against the will of her brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers), while also facing her human enemies in the film's villainous French fur hunters. With the inherent narrative potential that any form of historical fiction possesses, simply placing "The Predator" at the center of different cultures over the centuries will open many doors on its own.
Of course, the Predator series didn't have to abandon modern settings entirely because of Prey's success. However, Naru's battle with the Predator and Prey's ending collectively show just how much potential the series has in terms of worldbuilding and introducing new characters. Naru's defeat of her Yautja counterpart appears to be only the beginning of predators arriving on Earth to stalk and hunt humans, long before humans took their first steps into the stars. In establishing this, Predator's most surprising achievement may be to show that sometimes the best future lies in staying in the past.